Skowhegan police and school district administrators are taking seriously a threat posted on social media Sunday morning to have someone shoot up Skowhegan Area High School “and leave a few students in a bloody pool.”

Police Chief David Bucknam said Monday morning that he added a police officer for security at the high school. School Administrative District 54 posted on its website that the threat is not believed to be credible, but they are not taking any chances.

While there has been an apparent lull in school threats or in the reporting of such threats in Maine, names associated with the social media threat made to Skowhegan Area High School have turned up in previous investigations, namely several conducted by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, which Bucknam said the police are investigating.

A notification on the SAD 54 website reads, “As with all school threats, we take this very seriously and are following our regular school-day safety protocols. We believe our schools are safe. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to your school’s principal.”

The threat is on the Facebook page of someone calling himself Osama Kingdata, but refers to another person called Jesus Wellington Kong as the one who would hire others to do the shooting.

The first post appeared at 7:08 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 2: “Just a fact,.,,, I wouldn’t post the military I am joining on facebook,,,,because,,,,,i am the man that keeps threatening to shoot up skowhegan area high school and leave a few students in a bloody pool,,,,now and days shooting up a school is really cool,,,,if you ain’t shooting up a school you just ain’t cool,,,, yup and part of rules is temporarily shutting down a school,,,,”

A second post six minutes later at 7:14 a.m. reads: “New video coming soon,,,.., from the man that not only threatened … a mass shooting at skowhegan area high school,,,, the man also has a promising military career,,,,,watch out ,,,, new video coming soon,,,,”

The threat is the third in a string of violent, online postings this calendar year, the first of which forced SAD 54 schools to close in February.

Schools were closed Feb. 28 after officials were alerted to a social media post showing an image of an AR-15 assault rifle accompanied by a threat.

The post on Snapchat said, “Skowhegan, February 28, 2018 you’re all DEAD.” The post later was circulated on other social media sites.

The image was of the AR-15 assault rifle, which is like the one used Feb. 14 in a Florida school shooting that killed 17 people, including 14 students.

Three boys were taken away in handcuffs from Skowhegan Area High School in February after a second threat was posted on social media threatening violence. Two of the boys later were charged. Because they are juveniles, the names of the boys were not released.

The boys in that case — one a Skowhegan Area High School freshman, the other a sophomore — were arrested and taken to the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland. Both could have been charged with class C felony terrorizing, punishable as an adult by up to five years in prison, authorities said at the time.

Bucknam said Monday that the courts and the office of probation are handling the cases, but could not discuss it further because of their age.

Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties, said the juvenile code does not allow her to release information on adjudication of the previous Skowhegan school threats, except to say they were not charged in felony juvenile petitions.

“They were not adjudicated on a felony,” Maloney said. “Meaning the court did not find them responsible for a felony.”

Steve Bailey, executive director at the Maine School Management Association, said by phone Monday afternoon that he had conferred with Eileen King, executive director at the affiliated Maine School Superintendents Association and neither had heard of any other recent school threats.

“We usually get word of those,” Bailey said. “There have been none that we have been aware of and certainly nothing recently, certainly as of today or last week.”

The SAD 54 notification was posted on Monday at 09:43 a.m.

“Good morning, Please be aware that the Skowhegan Police Department has been investigating threats made on social media by an individual who is believed to be out of state and have been working with state and federal law enforcement to follow-up. Police became aware of these threats over the weekend and as of last night, have been in regular contact with school administration.

“The threat is not believed to be credible. As with all school threats, we take this very seriously and are following our regular school-day safety protocols. We believe our schools are safe. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to your school’s principal. Thank you, MSAD54.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigators in Florida in August 2016 said they wanted to talk to Jesus Wellington Kong, 23, about similar threats made at schools in the Orlando area, according to a story on the clickorlando.com website. Deputies increased patrols around at least five schools that month after violent threats against the schools and their students surfaced online.

Investigators said one of the threats made reference to shooting up a high school, while others involved planting pipe bombs at another high school and a middle school.

Kong, who also goes by Jesus Henry Kong, Jesus Matute and Jessie Eloah Calix, is described by deputies as 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds, with a mole on his left cheek and burn scars on his hand and chest. He is a transient, but appears to move between California, Virginia, Maryland and Florida.

A follow-up story in the Orlando Sentinel reported that a spokeswoman for the FBI said Kong was not a threat to the Orlando area. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Orlando declined to press charges.

Bucknam said in a text message to the Morning Sentinel that the online threat is being investigated.

“Yes we take this seriously,” he said. “We are currently investigating this threat. At this time there does not seem to be any credible evidence as to the threat. He has done similar things out in Florida, if you Google his name.

“The police department and school are taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the kids in MSAD 54. Investigation ongoing. I have added an additional officer at the school. If at any point we need to elevate school posture we will.”

Bucknam later in the day on Monday posted to the Skowhegan Police Department’s Facebook page that the department “takes all threats to our children very seriously and we are diligently investigating this threat. Although we do not have any credible information leading us to believe this is true we are still taking precautions.

“Additional officers have been added to assist School Resource Officer (SRO) David Daigneault and we are in close communications with Superintendent Brent Colbry. If you have any information which may assist us in our investigation please contact SRO David Daigneault at 207-474-6386 or message us on the Skowhegan Facebook page.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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